Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Shadow Attorney-General

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Senator for Western Australia


24 MAY 2023


The Albanese Government publicly released sensitive advice from the Solicitor General about the former Government in August last year, after a process that was today exposed as a complete farce and contrary to the Government’s own rules.

Shadow Attorney-General Senator Michaelia Cash exposed the sham process during Senate Estimates hearings.

The Attorney-General’s Department’s Guidance note for briefing the Solicitor General states:

“Opinions of a Solicitor-General are confidential to the Australian Government. The Office of Legal Services Coordination and the Solicitor-General’s chambers must be consulted before any opinion of the Solicitor-General, or a former Solicitor-General, is provided to a person or body outside the Australian Government (including external counsel and solicitors retained by the Commonwealth).”

Despite these rules, the Attorney-General’s Department today revealed that the OLSC was only consulted after Prime Minister Albanese had already announced that the Solicitor General’s advice would be made public.

A media article on 22 August 2022 at 2.31pm said Mr Albanese had announced he would release the advice. Some media reporting of Mr Albanese came as early as 11.30am on August 22.

But the Office of Legal Service Co-ordination in the Attorney-General’s Department did not receive an email from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to “consult” on the release of the advice until 3.51pm that day.

“What is clear here is that this process was a complete farce,’’ Senator Cash said.

“The Prime Minister had already announced he would release the advice before consultation took place,’’ she said.

“Mr Albanese has politicised the office of the Solicitor General. He has now set up a process where he releases advice which he thinks is politically favourable to him but claims legal professional privilege over unfavourable advice.” Senator Cash said.

“What this exposes is a Prime Minister who the Australian people can not trust to be up front with them. He pretends to run an orderly Government but that is just a sham,’’ Senator Cash said.

“This advice was released for political reasons and nothing more. Mr Albanese can not pretend anything else,’’ she said.

“Mr Albanese should explain why he duped the Australian people,’’ Senator Cash said.